Springfield, Illinois – After our second trip to Alaska and a weekend off for Thanksgiving, the Springfield Jr. Blues return to the Nelson Center this weekend for a pair of games against longtime divisional rival the Janesville Jets. The Jr. Blues come into the weekend in 2nd place in the Midwest Division with a 15-8-0-1 record for 31 points.
The Jr. Blues have finally wrapped up their adventures to Alaska and, after 10 games played against Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Kenai River combined, will be staying in the lower-48 for the remainder of the 2021-22 regular season. While the boys will be happy to be home, our record on the road has been a major contributing factor to our success so far this season. At 10-6-0 the boys record away from the confines of the Nelly has put us in a prime position to succeed as we continue our quest for our third Robertson Cup Championship.
Leo Bacallao (12 G, 11 A), Carson Jones (6 G, 15 A), Jonathan Panisa (6 G, 15 A), and Joey Dosan (8 G, 12 A) lead the way offensively while rookies Connor Smith (7 G, 8 A), Hagen Moe (6 G, 4 A) and Michael Valdez (3 G, 7 A) have continued to contribute. In the net Ethan Roberts has solidified himself as a bonafide starter in this league as his record currently sits at 11-5-0-1 in 20 appearances with a 2.50 GAA and .920 SV%.
On the other side of the ice sits our longtime foe from Wisconsin: the Janesville Jets. After a very rocky start to the season (started 3-7), the Jets have really turned things around in the last few weeks. They are now 7-2 in their last 9 games with the streak being sparked by a series win over Fairbanks at the beginning of November. The Jets are led up front by rookie Cy Leclerc whose 17 goals and 13 assists for 30 points has him tied for 4th in scoring in the league overall. In the net the Jets are backstopped by Owen Millward who is sporting a 9-3-0 record in 14 appearances with a 3.25 GAA and .886 SV%.
The Midwest Division continues to prove itself as one of the toughest divisions in the league as teams continue to jockey for position as we approach the halfway point of the season. Fairbanks sits in 1st place with 33 points (16-8-0-1), we’re in 2nd place with 31 points, Chippewa is in 3rd with 29 points (14-11-0-1), Anchorage is in 4th with 27 points (13-8-1-0), MN Wilderness are in 5th with 27 points (13-10-1-0), MN Magicians are in 6th with 26 points (11-9-3-1), Janesville is in 7th with 21 points (10-12-0-1), and Kenai River rounds out the division with 8 points (4-18-0).
By the Numbers:
- The Jr. Blues and Jets played each other in September to begin the season and the Jr. Blues won both games 4-1 in what was our return to hockey after sitting out the 2020-21 season. Janesville has historically had the advantage in our season series with the 2015-16 season being the last time we won a season series (7-5).
- We have played 24 games so far this season and this weekend’s games will be only our 7th and 8th games at the Nelson Center. However, six of the next eight series will be played here in Springfield and 10 of our last 17 will be at home. The second half of the season promises a lot of potential for fans to come out and see one of the top teams in the NAHL!
- Scoring first has been a big factor this season for the Jr. Blues. In the 15 games that we have gotten on the scoreboard first we are 12-2-0-1, the third best in the league behind Fairbanks and Maryland.
- Special Teams are always an important part of each weekend series and this weekend should be a test to see how both the PP and PK are doing. Currently, the Jr. Blues PP sits at 25%, 2nd best in the division and 4th best in the league. The PK sits at 82.6% which is 3rd best in the division and 15th overall in the league. For the Jets their PP is at 18.5% (7th in Division, 17th in league) and their PK is at 70.7% (last in division, 2nd to last in league).
This Weekend’s Games:
Our weekend series begins tomorrow evening at 7:05 pm with doors opening at 6 pm. Join us early as we will have our Pregame Happy Hour running from 6 to 7 pm! We then wrap up the series on Saturday with a 6:05 pm game time with doors opening at 5. You can grab your tickets in advance by visiting www.tickets.jrblues.com – save some time (and money) and skip the line on game night!